The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: Diversity and student performance in higher education

Written by Jenny Chesters and Louise Watson (University of Canberra)


Research indicates that students admitted to university on a basis other than Year 12 are less likely to complete a higher education course than school leavers. This paper analyses administrative data for a cohort of students admitted to first year undergraduate programs in an Australian university, to investigate the academic progression and retention of students from diverse educational backgrounds. The findings indicate that students admitted on the basis of Year 12 completion have a higher mean grade point average (GPA) than all other groups. However, the findings also reveal that after controlling for GPA, students who did not meet the minimum requirements for entry and completed an enabling course on campus prior to commencing their undergraduate program, are less likely to discontinue their university studies than Year 12 completers. This suggests that enabling programs play an important role in supporting students from diverse educational backgrounds to complete a university degree.

Read more: Diversity and student performance in higher education

Chesters, J. and Watson, L. 2014. “Diversity and student performance in higher education.” Refereed paper presented to the 17th International First Year in Higher Education (FYHE) Conference, Darwin, Australia.